"Hard Pressed On Every Side?"
I was recently looking at Paul's statement: "hard pressed on
every side." The context is, his careful efforts to explain his ministry to
those in Corinth who had been troubled by outsiders, who sought to undermine his
influence and work. Paul wasn't comfortable with this kind of writing
("boasting"), but was compelled to respond to men with destructive agendas.
He wrote, "we are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair."
"Hard pressed" in the New King James is "afflicted in every way" in the ESV and NAS. In the New Testament in Plain English, it is: "being squeezed."
Now this is something we can identify with. Though it may well be, we do not suffer the kind of pressure Paul endured, we do know what it means to be "squeezed" or "hard pressed."
You may feel this pressure in your budget, your health, your schedule, your relationships, your temptations. Pressure or stress is a realistic feature of life on earth. Life on earth is hard. It was particularly hard for Paul, a victim of hostility and terror at the hands of those who rejected the gospel. He was "persecuted" and "struck down," so that death was working in his life. He was "hard pressed on every side."
But he was not crushed! Perplexed, but "not in despair." His endurance was a function of his faith: "But since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, 'I believed and therefore I spoke,' we also believe and therefore spoke, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you," (vss. 13,14).
From this I need to learn - whatever kind of pressure I feel, as a child of God; whatever specific form the squeezing may take, being crushed is not inevitable. When I believe and speak according to the truth of the gospel, when I live unto Him, there is never any reason to "lose heart." Read now, 2 Cor. 4.
"And though we shall at last seal this truth with our blood, we fear not, being persuaded that as the body of Christ was raised from the dead by the power of the Father, so shall our bodies be raised, and that we shall have an eternal life with him in glory." Adam Clarke